Red Sox

1-2-3 Inning: Alfredo Aceves

191542.jpg

1-2-3 Inning: Alfredo Aceves

By Jessica Camerato
CSNNE.com Follow @JCameratoNBA
Welcome to the debut of 1-2-3 Inning, a step inside the Boston Red Sox bullpen and a look at the individuals who make up this cohesive unit. First up, Alfredo Aceves.

The 29-year-old right-handed pitcher joined the Red Sox this season after playing the previous three seasons for the New York Yankees. Aceves has embraced his role in the Red Sox pitching staff, whether in the starting rotation or the bullpen (8-1, 2 SV, 3.02 ERA). In this edition of 1-2-3 Inning, he talked to CSNNE.com about family values, the development of his fastball, and a career aspiration you may not have expected.

1. Aceves grew up in a baseball family his father, Alfredo, was a first baseman in the Mexican League and his brother, Jonathan, played in the Chicago White Sox and Florida Marlins systems. But it was just that family that was the foundation of his childhood. When asked what his life was like growing up in Sonora, Mexico, Aceves, one of his most vivid memories had nothing to do with sports.

It was great. I grew up in the middle class. My house was a small house, and I grew up with my brother and sister, doing whatever my father said. I went to school, did my homework in the afternoon, and then I waited for my father to see whats happening and whats going on. On Fridays, I waited until he came with the food, so we helped him to put the bags from the truck in the house. He crossed the border to work all the time in the United States, so he went to Walmart or whatever and he drove back. When he got home, me and my brother went out and said, Father, did you bring food today? He said, Yeah yeah, so we grabbed the boxes and put them inside to help him. He was a carpenter, he was a baseball player, and he also worked in the field for a couple of years. With my father, I had to be a good son and honor him and my mother.

2. There was a period of time growing up when Aceves lost interest in baseball and turned to basketball, soccer, and volleyball instead. When he got asked to join a new baseball team in school, though, he began playing again and moved to the mound. After overcoming his frustrations, Aceves found his speed.

They said they were going to start a baseball team and asked if I wanted to play. I was playing outfield and then the coach said, Jump on the mound. I didnt like to throw hard, like a fastball, and give up a hit. I was like, Why? Im throwing as hard as I can and I couldnt get outs. I didnt know why. So I started to work. I had to wait every Sunday to play again. Work hard Monday to Friday and let it go on Sundays. One time I was throwing 76 MPH fastballs, that was my highest. Then I started to work out. 15 days later, I was 79. 15 more days, 81. 15 more days, 84. 15 more days, I think 86. In a month, 91. So in a period of three months, I went from 76 to 91. I got stuck on 91 for five years. Now, Im 29 and Im throwing 96.

3. As a student at CBTIS 33 (Centro de Bachillerato Tecnolgico Industrial y de Servicios), Aceves had career aspirations outside of baseball. What he wanted to pursue, however, may surprise you.

I studied laboratorio (science). I liked things having to do with the hospital. I wanted to be a dentist. I think its good to repair teeth for people. I think I could be a good dentist.

Jessica Camerato is on Twitter at http:twitter.com!JCameratoNBA.

Pedroia cleared to start running, progressing well

red_sox_dustin_pedroia_070917.jpg

Pedroia cleared to start running, progressing well

Dustin Pedroia has been cleared to run following October surgery on his right knee.

“It’s been pretty much what they thought it would be,” Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski said Thursday. “This is always the time they had told me. So you start running at this point, but that’s just running. So you’re not cutting, you’re not doing all things. We still have two and a half months until opening day. 

“I cant say he would never be ready, but we’re not pushing him for that. I think it’s more important he follows step by step. So you run, then cut, then you pick up the pace. But he’s made very positive strides. But that’s why he’s not going to be there this weekend, with the big crowds and all the treatment he has it’s probably not good for him in case someone would run into him accidentally. But he’s making good strides.”

Pedroia told WEEI this month that he’s eyeing Opening Day. Dombrowski said at Alex Cora’s introductory press conference in November that the Red Sox were targeting May. 

“We think Pedey is going to be back in May at some point right now if you listen to what the doctor has to say," Dombrowski said.

  • Dombrowski expects Mookie Betts and the Sox will wind up at a hearing, as assistant general manager Brian O’Halloran also said. The team made clear that if filing numbers were exchanged, a hearing would follow. That’s called a “file and go” approach, or “file and trial” or “file to go.” The Sox don’t employ the approach universally — they exchanged numbers with Drew Pomeranz before settling last year — but it is the approach they’re taking with Betts. A panel of arbitrators will decide if he makes $10.5 million, as Betts filed for, or $7.5 million, as the Red Sox filed for (barring an unexpected settlement before then).

 

NBC SPORTS BOSTON SCHEDULE

Return to health may mean a return to form for Bradley

red_sox_jackie_bradley_060917.jpg

Return to health may mean a return to form for Bradley

BOSTON -- It’s well known that Xander Bogaerts was playing hurt for much of 2017. All players in a 162-game season work through multiple injuries, nicks, strains and sometimes worse.

But it has probably gone too far under the radar that Jackie Bradley Jr. was not physically himself last season.

MORE - Sox aren't avoiding Martinez because Harper, Machado loom

One of the reasons to believe Bradley can rebound in 2017 — and a reason to advocate keeping a cost-controlled player who is both comfortable in Boston and immensely talented — is renewed health.

Bradley suffered a right knee sprain in April that put him in a brace through May. He sprained his left thumb in August. A baseball source with direct knowledge of Bradley’s situation emphasized his injuries did affect him.

Bradley, like many players, on Thursday did not want to discuss the extent of his health.

“Y’all know I’m never gonna say anything about that. It’s just not who I am,” Bradley told NBC Sports Boston before accepting the Defensive Player of the Year award at the 79th annual Boston baseball writers awards dinner. “But as a player, you just have to deal. You’re injured. But I felt at the time that I could still help the team out. So I was in a brace. I think once I got it off, it actually was feeling pretty good."

It didn’t linger all year, Bradley said.

“It felt pretty good until the thumb happened,” Bradley said. “But it’s one of those things where nobody’s ever really 100 percent. You grind, and you make the best with what’s due.”

Bradley slashed .245/.323/.402 in 2017 with 17 home runs. That's down from a .267/.349/.486 line with 26 home runs in 2016.

One of the things Bradley wants to do more of in 2018 is steal bases. He stole eight last season after a career-high nine the year before. In the minors, he stole 24 bases in one season (2012, between High-A and Double-A).

“I’ve always wanted to run more and I’m glad he’s going to give me the opportunity to be able to do that more often,” Bradley said of new manager Alex Cora. “I’ve always felt like I can run. I feel like I’ve gotten stronger every year. I’ve been pretty successful on the base paths but I guess certain times situations did not dictate it in the past. The red light was something more of a thing they wanted to do with certain people at bat instead of taking the next base.”

Asked if he considered how his health would play into stealing, Bradley noted the reward available.

“I’ve never gotten hurt stealing,” Bradley said. “I’m not saying there’s not a possibility, obviously there’s a possibility. Guys who steal a ton of bags can attest to that. Jacoby [Ellsbury], Billy [Hamilton], stuff like that. There is risk/reward. But, I feel like the reward outweighs the risk in most cases. I just want to be in scoring position. That’s what I want to be in. I want to help.” Bradley acknowledged that he heard about the trade rumors this offseason.

"Yeah that’s one of those things where you do see it,” Bradley said. “You definitely have family members who are constantly talking to you about it. You know, ‘Well, what if this, what if that?’ 

“Well, what if this what if that? What will be, will be. That has always been my mindset. It’s something that I can’t really control. You know, so, I’m just not going to worry about it. If it happens, it happens. If it doesn’t, I’m perfectly fine. I feel like I’m in a great situation. I feel like I have great teammates. I’m glad to be around them. And like I said, I understand if it did happen, then it’s something that I’ll have to live with.”

Bradley said he and his teammates have not discussed how long they will (or won’t) be together.

NBC SPORTS BOSTON SCHEDULE